Jeff bags $1m to boost financial services in Southeast Asia

Loan brokerage platform Jeff App closed a $1m round led by the Estonian Business Angels Network syndicate.

Joining the round were Startup Wise Guys, Taavi Tamkivi as well as several angels from the Estonian mobility unicorn Bolt.

With the aim to provide its data-enabled loan brokerage platform for unbanked customers in Asia despite based in Latvia, the firm will use the funds to fuel growth in Vietnam, Indonesia and the Philippines before expanding into further countries in Southeast Asia. Furthermore, it aims to launch new products that range from a free credit score and insurance offers to digital discount coupons and mobile wallet cashback.

More than a billion people don’t have access to a bank account and struggle to get financial services in Asia due to the limited amount of available financial data. Jeff App aims to tackle this issue by aggregating alternative data from those seeking financial services. This it does by integrating with a growing number of data sources using anonymised smartphone metadata and analysing behavioural patterns.

While some lending companies have developed projects for alternative data scoring, the process is often time-consuming, complicated and expensive. Jeff on the other hand leverages the customers’ digital footprint to produce a unified credit score, therefore making the process smoother and inexpensive for both lenders and borrowers.

Commenting on the firm’s plans, Jeff co-founder and CEO Toms Niparts said, “Jeff helps our users to start building credit history based on their digital footprint, something that is otherwise difficult in a market where 70% of transactions are still done in cash. Ultimately, we want to develop Jeff into a financial super app offering a range of products besides loans, such as insurance, mass-adopted digital credit score, and even go beyond finance by adding a range of utility functions.

“One thing we learnt about emerging Asian markets is that there is an incredible opportunity on the B2B side, as the API infrastructure is not as developed as we had anticipated. We are actively developing our lender toolkit, which includes a bank portal and a lender API. The idea is to offer solutions that improve the borrower-lender transaction while also requiring little to no integration effort for banks,” added Niparts.

In 2020, the startup landed a pre-seed funding round at around €150K backed by a number of European business angels. Jeff currently claims more than 300,000 users in Vietnam.

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